Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) organizer Points North Institute is rolling out a 12-day virtual festival for the event’s 16th edition due to COVID-19.
The digital event — taking place Oct. 1 to 12 — will see the launch of the Filmmaker Solidarity fund and a new Points North partnership offering US$30,000 in funding for short documentaries.
In addition to “dozens” of livestream events, CIFF will host its own drive-in theater and screenings at a small number of reduced-capacity theaters in Maine.
The event will culminate with a special program to honor Indigenous People’s Day in partnership with Nia Tero and Big Sky Documentary Festival.
The Filmmaker Solidarity Fund will distribute 50% of net proceeds from virtual festival pass and ticket sales as honoraria for every participating filmmaker or filmmaking team, including both features and shorts directors.
It will also seek new tax-deductible contributions and corporate sponsorships from partners interested in supporting diverse independent filmmakers during this “time of critical need.”
CIFF will bring together filmmakers, industry leaders, journalists, organizers, and other guests to “re-imagine” the art, business, and future of non-fiction filmmaking.
The festival and forum will seek to advance industry-wide conversations about “story and power,” examining how “power and resources are distributed in the documentary film industry, and how festivals can build solidarity with filmmakers.”
Organizers have also invested in closed captioning, ASL interpretation, live transcription services and outreach as part of its “commitment to accessibility.”
Elsewhere, Points North is expanding filmmaker support through its Artist Programs. In a new partnership, the organization is joining forces with IF/Then Shorts, ScreeningRoom, LEF Foundation and Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions to offer a fund and rough cut lab for filmmakers from the American Northeast with documentary shorts in post-production.
The inaugural North Shorts Fellowship will support six projects that explore a range of socially, politically and culturally relevant topics that are rooted in the region.
Projects will receive a $5,000 post-production grant and participate in a month-long online rough cut lab, culminating with an invitation-only rough cut screening as a part of the 2020 festival.
Following the lab and festival, filmmakers will receive two months of distribution consultation to help get their film out into the world.
In addition to the festival and forum and these new partnerships, other Artist Programs — including the Points North Fellowship, North Star Fellowship, 4th World Indigenous Media Lab, and Points North 1:1 Meetings — will be conducted remotely.
The 11th annual Points North Pitch will be livestreamed to a global audience Oct. 3. All funds previously earmarked for travel will be redirected as stipends to filmmaker fellows and mentors, according to organizers.
The submission deadline for the Points North Fellowship and North Star Fellowship has been extended to July 15.
Submissions for the North Shorts Fellowship will open on July 1 with a deadline of Aug. 3. Fellowship participants will be announced in late August.
CIFF submissions will be extended through July 10, and any film whose premiere has been interrupted by COVID-19 is eligible for a full fee waiver.
The entire film lineup for the 2020 Camden International Film Festival and Points North Forum will be announced in early September.
“Amidst a global pandemic, an uprising in defense of Black lives, and a critical election, some deeper truths about the world we live in are being exposed for more to see,” program director Sean Flynn said in a statement. “These events underscore the critical need to support filmmakers and artists committed to truth telling, especially those whose truths have not yet been fully heard.”